West Nile Virus: Serious health threat

By Staff
August 11, 2002
City officials are taking steps to acquire a second truck equipped to spray neighborhoods for the pesky mosquitoes that can carry a more vicious bite this year. The West Nile Virus has been confirmed in neighboring Scott County and one Hinds County man has apparently died from it. He is said to be the first person in Mississippi killed by the mosquito-borne illness.
Of the 34 cases recorded to far this summer in Mississippi, people infected range in age from 3 to 82, with the majority of cases in people over the age of 50.
Locally, health officials are awaiting the results of lab tests to determine if a dead blue jay found early last week was carrying the virus. They urge anyone who finds a dead bird that has not begun to decompose to contact the Lauderdale County Health Department.
In the wake of this spreading virus and the real threat it poses to public health, we encourage city and county officials to make sure they are doing everything possible to control the mosquito population.
And, we also remind residents of the following tips they can use to protect themselves:
Limit outdoor activity after dark.
Avoid known mosquito infested areas.
When outdoors after dark, wear long sleeves and long pants.
Use screens on windows and doors.
Insect repellents with 10 percent to 60 percent DEET offer the best protection against mosquitoes. DEET products include Off, Cutter and Muksol, as well as others. Check the label for DEET percentages and don't use higher than 10 percent for small children.
Remove sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including tires, cans, pet dishes and clogged rain gutters.
Alerted by the knowledge that anyone can get the West Nile Virus and that people over 50 tend to have more severe symptoms, and armed with preventive measures, we all can help make the rest of summer more trouble free.

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